Help Shape our Sustainable Future Today
We can all be sustainable where we live, work and play. Use some of our tips to help you green your everyday practices.
Be Energy Efficient
Save on power bills, reduce energy use and your carbon emissions
- Get your building an Energy Star Certificate through efficient use of energy. On average, these buildings use up to 35 percent less energy than buildings not operated with or designed with energy efficiencies in mind.
- Purchase Energy Star products. This will save energy and help reduce your electricity bill. When purchasing new products, look for the Energy Star logo.
- Try using energy-efficient smart power strips for equipment that does not need to stay on. There are power strips that come with remote control shut-off and motion detecting shut-offs. Using a smart power strip surge protector will cut off power automatically to only the devices that are turned off, while still powering the devices that are turned on and in use. You don’t have to turn off the power cord button when you’re done with your devices, just simply turn that appliance off like you usually do. Even in off or stand-by mode, appliances and electronics with clocks, LEDs, lights and LCD panels draw electricity when plugged into wall outlets. According to the Department of Energy, they can add 5 to 10 percent to your bill each month.
- As appropriate, install motion sensor and/or automatic dimming switches for lighting in offices, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, break rooms, and any other places in your business that you see fit. Encourage staff to turn lights off when not in use.
- Energy Star rated LED (light emitting diode) lights can save energy because they are more efficient than other lights. Businesses may not put fluorescent tubes into the trash and must properly dispose of them through a service provider. Residents may take their fluorescent tubes to the Household Hazardous Waste sites at the Tomoka Landfill (Port Orange) or West Volusia Transfer Station (DeLand) free of charge.
- According to Florida Power & Light, keep air conditioners at 76 degrees. This should keep humidity low and mold from growing. Some new thermostats allow you to control your air conditioner/heater from remote locations. Ceiling fans circulating air throughout the building can help keep you comfortable without lowering the air conditioner temperature.
- Laptops can be more energy efficient than desktops. Once your laptop is fully charged, remove and unplug the cord. When you are not using it, turn it off.
Be Travel Light
Decrease your emissions, increase your fuel efficiency
and save money
- Create a companywide policy to eliminate idling of engines.
- If your company ships products or is a truck or rail company that delivers products, you could join the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership. This partnership allows freight carriers and shippers to “commit to benchmark operations, track fuel consumption and improve performance annually.”
- Carpool, vanpool, riding a bus, biking and walking are great options for reducing emissions. For bus information, check out Votran. For general ideas, visit rethinkyourcommute.
- Consider alternative fuels for home and work use, personal vehicles and work fleets. If you drive an alternative fuel vehicle, check out the Volusia County Alternative Fuel Site map.
- Schedule regular auto tune-ups while maintaining appropriate tire pressure on work vehicles can mean better mileage and reduced carbon emissions – bottom line savings!
- Schedule meetings online. Try an online or video conferencing software. If you need to meet, consider facilities that have a commitment to sustainability like you do. Ask the facility about their programs before you make the reservation.
- If you are traveling, look for a green lodging program like the Florida Green Lodging Program.
Be Water Wise
Save on water bills and landscaping maintenance
and preserve natural areas
- Check for leaks in faucets, toilets and other sources of water; make repairs if any are found. You can use leak detecting dye tablets or a couple of drops of food dye to check for leaks from the toilet tank.
- Install low-flow or dual-flush toilets.
- Eliminate unnecessary cleaning and wash-downs of vehicles and large machinery used in your company.
- Install low-flow faucets and showerheads. If you are not ready to replace faucets, try starting with faucet aerators and see how much water you can save.
- Businesses should provide staff education on water savings, then keep them updated on how much they have saved and how this is important to the company.
- Fertilize Like a Floridian. In Florida, summer rains wash fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorous into our lakes and rivers, damaging what makes our state so beautiful. That’s why Volusia County prohibits the use of fertilizer with nitrogen or phosphorous during the rainy summer and why slow-release is required the rest of the year. For more information on fertilizing, visit Be Floridian Now. Check with your landscapers to see if they are following the ordinance.
- Design your landscape to use the existing established plants (if they don’t require irrigation and are not invasive). When you want to add plants, use varieties native to the area. This reduces maintenance and water use, saving time and cash. For resources on landscaping projects visit Florida’s Water.
- Follow local watering restrictions and make sure you have a rain gauge added to automatic sprinkler systems. Reduce watering during rainy periods. Check the watering restrictions for your address.
- Capture rainwater in rain barrels to water plants. Make sure you screen your rain barrel. If you use containers other than a rain barrel, don’t let water stand as this creates a mosquito-breeding habitat.
Be an Environmental Champion
Enjoy spending time in some of our natural places. Get involved through volunteering and encourage others to work together to preserve our natural places
- Learn more about our conservation lands by checking out Explore Volusia education programs.
- Visit local preserves and parks to increase awareness and appreciation of these resources.
- Check out Volusia Forever, a citizen-approved county program that preserves native habitats for generations to come with local tax dollars matched with state and federal dollars.
- Be knowledgeable on environmental issues and projects in your area and participate in solutions by volunteering with Volunteer Volusia!
- Use green cleaning products around the workplace. Ask your cleaning service to use green cleaning products appropriate for your work environment. This will cut down on the chemicals being used in your business space and create a healthier work environment.
- Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and stop or reduce your use of herbicides and pesticides so native wildlife can thrive.
- Using native Florida plants and being knowledgeable about the right plants to put in your landscaping will help you conserve water and provide habitat for pollinators and other native animals. Check the Florida Native Plant Society and St. Johns River Water Management District for native plant ideas.
- Reduce your water consumption inside and outside your business.
- Reduce your company's waste. Look for ways to reduce waste, recycle and reuse as much as possible. Initiate an environmentally preferable purchasing program and purchase green products.
Be the Team
Help create a healthy community
- Get your employees involved. Create a green team, organize volunteering opportunities, and take part in food drives. For team-building exercises and meetings, go to one of Volusia County’s many parks to enjoy nature and get to know your employees.
- Plant trees around your building. They will provide lots of benefits, including shade and improved air quality.
- Create volunteer awards programs for green initiatives and reward great ideas with green gifts, such as a low-maintenance native plant for their landscape or a plant for their home. The plant will keep on giving by providing fresh oxygen.
- Build your business green by using green practices in your operations and green building practices to build or retrofit your building to green building. You’ll improve indoor building health for the occupants and save money too!
Be Waste Aware
Save costly landfill space and the need to develop more waste processing facilities
- Look for ways that current waste can be reused onsite or in other businesses. Ask your employees for ideas on how to reduce company waste or increase recycling. Many ink cartridges can be recycled; check with the store you purchased from or the manufacturer’s website.
- Check your supply chain for efficiencies.
- Donate old equipment such as computers, phones and other electronics. To help you find places to donate your used electronics, the EPA has a list of manufacturers and retailers involved in the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronic Challenge. You can also look into donating to schools, day cares, churches, and community centers.
- Go paperless! When you do have to print, make sure you have paper-reducing strategies in place.
- Use the real stuff! Use real mugs, glasses and utensils instead of disposable stuff.
- Have a program in place for construction debris recycling if you are a builder or site developer.
Be the Connection
Support your local economy and live healthier
- Conduct meetings at green buildings where they conserve energy and water, recycle and minimize the waste produced.
- Create a policy for overnight stays at Green Lodging facilities.
- Purchase supplies from local sustainable resources. Check for product distributors close to your facility; the closer the distributor, the fewer emissions from vehicles transporting products and the more money you save in shipping costs. Check for recycled material. Can it be recycled? Is it reusable?
- Reduce the operational cost of your building through efficient use of energy and water. Look at green building certification or Energy Star certification for your building - on average these buildings use up to 35 percent less energy than average buildings.
- Explore the EPA website for more ideas on how to save in your business.
Be in sustainable shape
…at home, work, and play!